I have written many times about the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law, the basic law that protects employee wages. The Law states that employees are entitled to the wages that they earned. If an employer fails to pay earned wages, it could be liable for triple damages and attorney's fees.
Below are examples of earned wages that can be recovered in Wage Payment and Collection Law cases.
Commissions. A series of favorable Maryland decisions (reviewed here) state that if an employee performs the work necessary to earn a commission, he is entitled to it -- even if he or she has left the company
Bonuses. Did you do everything you could possibly do to earn the bonus? If so, you probably earned it and are owed it.
Severance. If severance is promised to entice an employee to take a job or to reward an employee for years of service, it likely falls under the category of earned wages.
Straight wages. Did your employer just fail to pay? You are owed your wages.
Overtime: A recent amendment includes overtime in the Law's definition of wages.
The Law can be enforced in three ways:
1. You can file a lawsuit. I recommend you consult a Maryland Employment attorney before doing so.
2. You can file an administrative complaint with the Maryland Department of Labor (DLLR). Instructions on how to file such a complaint can be found on the DLLR website.
3. You can file a criminal complaint for a willful violation. A warning: I have not yet seen a criminal wage violation prosecuted. My impression is that such claims are rarely prosecuted (since they are left to the civil process).
NOTE: Beginning in October 2013, Maryland employees can place a lien on their employer's property under the Maryland Wage Lien Act.